• Joanna Doxey has poems forthcoming in Tinderbox and Denver Quarterly. A collaborative review, curated by Mike Young and Rebekah Hewitt, is in the current issue of Tinderbox online, here: http://www.tinderboxpoetry.com/a-collective-review-of-vow-by-rebecca-hazelton-told-through-three-letters. Her book of poetry, Plainspeak, WY, will be released by Platypus Press in late November.
  • Mike Palmquist gave plenary talks this summer at the Computers and Writing Conference in upstate New York and the International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He continued to work on the WAC Clearinghouse (wac.colostate.edu). Three new books were published this summer and three more will be released before the end of August. The Clearinghouse now has a catalog of more than 70 scholarly books. Mike continues to work on textbooks as well, with new editions of The Bedford Researcher and Joining the Conversation set for publication in the coming year and a new book, In Conversation, set to begin production this fall.
  • Leif Sorensen’s article “D’Arcy McNickle’s Reservation Modernism,” appeared in Modernism/Modernity. It is available through the journal’s new open access digital platform Print Plus at https://modernismmodernity.org/articles/d%E2%80%99arcy-mcnickle%E2%80%99s-reservation-modernism
  • Catie Young’s chapbook, Overhead Projector, was recently published by H_NGM_N Books. Her essay, “Lost in the Fiery Hell of a Canyon a Woman Struggles Desperately for Life,” will appear in The Scofield‘s upcoming issue: Clarice Lispector & the Act of Writing.
  • Steven Schwartz’s forthcoming book to be published this September, Madagascar: New and Selected Stories, received a starred review in Booklist.
  • Crane Giamo (MFA Poetry, Summer 2011) is currently the studio manager and faculty instructor in the Book Arts Program at the University of Utah, and the lead printer for Red Butte Press. He is the co-founder of Delete Press, a poetry chapbook publishing outfit for which he is the letterpress printer, bookbinder, and papermaker. He is also the co-founder of By Voices, an ongoing collaborative experiment with Christopher Davenport where the process of building books are conceived as instruments of social practice through printmaking, papermaking, bookbinding, photography, and film. Crane’s own artist books can be located under the imprint Pocalypstic Editions.
  • Bill Tremblay and Chloe’ Leisure did a reading together at the Loveland Public Library on August 5, 2016, and on August 6, 2016 they did a poetry workshop from 9-11:00 AM. There was not an empty seat. Bill and Chloe would like to thank Veronica Patterson for making the arrangements and Lorrie Wolfe for organizing the Northern Colorado members of the Columbine Poetry group as well as Caroline Hilligoss of the Loveland Public Library.  Bill has a number of readings this fall–from Laramie to Boulder to Evergreen. He’s also done a radio interview with Patrick Bocarde for his show “Talking Earth” on KBOO.fm, Portland, OR, and with Carrie Graves and Alan Legg on KRFC.fm for future broadcast.

    Sara Jane Sloane took a picture of Bill and Chloe signing books.

    Sara Jane Sloane took a picture of Bill and Chloe signing books.

  • Kathleen Willard won second prize for the Marc Fischer Poetry Prize. She will be reading her poem “Song of Myself X”, an quasi-autobiographical poem using words beginning with X and, of course, a homage to Whitman at the Telluride Literary Arts Festival on Friday May 20th.


Department Hours: Main office, Computer Lab, and Writing Center

English Department Office Hours: The English Office hours are 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (closed during lunch, 12:00-1:00 p.m.).


Eddy 300 Computer Lab

Monday – Friday 7:30-10pm
Saturday 8-6pm
Sunday 10-6pm

Colorado State University Writing Center: Creating better writers and better writing.

30 minute face-to-face consultations

Eddy Room 23
Monday – Thursday 10am – 4pm
Beginning Monday, August 29th

Morgan Library Room 171
Sunday-Thursday 6 – 8pm
Beginning Tuesday, September 6

Online draft review available throughout the week. 

Find more information or make an appointment at: writingcenter.colostate.edu



Former English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic at her graduation Spring 2016

Former English Department Communications Intern Ashley Alfirevic at her graduation, Spring 2016

There were two final things I wanted to take home from Colorado this summer: a graduate certificate from the University of Denver Publishing Institute (DPI) and a cardboard sign from the summit of a fourteener.  As it turned out, the process of earning those two degrees of cardstock weren’t all that different.

The top is a daunting, idealized prospect. Looking ahead to the end of my journey, I was excited for what might come with a certificate from DPI. I had all sorts of expectations for new friends, reputable connections, and perhaps even job offers. But there was still work to be done, including mysterious manuscripts and advance assignments that I felt a little nervous about starting. I found myself enjoying the preliminary work once I got going, as writing reader’s reports, traveling to indie bookstores, and drafting press releases all provided a fun introduction to the trail ahead. 

You’ll meet a lot of fun, interesting people along the way. DPI provides an automatic introduction to almost a hundred other people who love books and want to contribute to making them, and it’s the most wonderful thing. Surrounded by fellow readers ready with ample book suggestions and the same frenzied determination to find a career in the publishing industry, I felt confident that this was absolutely the right place to be. 

Ashley at DPI

Ashley at DPI (third from the right), along with some of her fellow participants

Some just seem to have a talent for bounding up the mountain. The Institute also allows for introductions to industry giants. Whether they serve as fearless leaders in the digital age or have uncanny knacks for editing with a subtle turn of phrase, the lecturers are absolutely awe-inspiring. Many of the speakers seem to have those, “I moved to New York with empty pockets and a dream” stories, and they all made them work with perseverance, grit, and a little bit of luck. But as many of them reminded us, everyone struggles on the way to the top. All of them were remarkably accessible and eager to help us on our trek, offering advice, business cards, and free books (and there were a lot of free books).   

The summit is beautiful, gratifying, and uniting. The trail may have seemed a little difficult at times – there’s no shortage of homework and job applications – but it was always worth it. The top puts everything in perspective, and it’s fulfilling to know that the industry wants to create books that have the power to change people’s lives in some small way. I felt proud to be part of a group of graduates that I know will go on to do great things and contribute to making even greater books. 

There are a lot of new peaks around you. I could easily see the other adventures around me, and I felt equipped to handle them. There may not be fifty-three peaks in publishing, but there are a plethora of different jobs, including but not limited to: editing, agenting, copyediting, proofreading, packaging, design, marketing, publicity, public relations, production, sub-rights, law, sales, and bookselling in trade, scholarly, indie, children’s, textbook, digital, and religious publishing. 

You really enjoy the view on the way down.  On the way up, I was focused on the trail ahead; the whole month was an intense crash course in industry lingo and procedures. On the way down I had time to take it all in, enjoy the views, and catch my breath. I learned about the industry through funny anecdotes and crucial guidance, practiced the nitty-gritty skills needed to go into editing or marketing, and took a glimpse into the pros and cons of every role. I met new business contacts who’d be glad to offer a coffee and some wisdom, and new friends I’d be happy to call up in whatever city I land in. Most of all, I confirmed that I want to pursue the beautiful, if chaotic, path of publishing now more than ever.

We are so proud of Ashley and all she has accomplished, as well as so grateful for all she did for us in her year as our communications intern. We miss her, but can’t wait to see where she’ll land. If you’d like to find out more about DPI, contact our internship coordinator Mary Hickey, mary.hickey@colostate.edu

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Blaine Smith

Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy Learning in Multilingual Settings

School of Education and Human Development, University of Miami

M.A. English Education, 2008


How did your major prepare you for the job, the life you have now?

As an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, my research focuses on the digital literacy practices of culturally and linguistically diverse adolescents. A main goal of my work is to develop instructional scaffolding that supports teachers with integrating technology in their classrooms. I also teach undergraduate and graduate courses focused on literacy studies and teaching English in secondary contexts.

The Master’s in English Education at CSU was excellent preparation for me to pursue a Ph.D. and become an Assistant Professor. Through the program, I gained a solid foundation of relevant theory and research in literacy studies and an understanding of English Education pedagogy for diverse learners. The program helped me to develop as a communicator, analytical thinker, and academic writer. In addition, my experience teaching College Composition for two years through a graduate assistantship prepared me for the teaching I do now.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments (both personally and professionally)?

So far, I consider earning a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from Vanderbilt University in 2014 an accomplishment because it required a lot of work and time—but I loved doing it!

A more recent accomplishment for me was being awarded a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. This opportunity will allow for me to focus on a research project this year that takes place in a 10th grade English class in Miami. My study will examine how culturally and linguistically diverse students analyze literature through multiple modes (e.g., visuals, sound, text, and movement), and how the analytical skills they develop in their digital projects transfer to their academic writing. For example, students reading a novel, poetry, or non-fiction will create hypertexts that analyze important passages through digital links and related media. Multimodal projects like these (e.g., digital videos and soundscapes) will require students to comprehend complex texts, while hopefully also promoting creativity and engagement.

Why did you choose to study here? What did you like about the English program?

I’m from Bellvue (just outside of Fort Collins), and I really enjoyed my experience earning a B.A. in Technical Journalism at CSU. After I graduated, I worked in public relations for a while and realized that I wanted to pursue a Master’s in English Education and earn a teaching certificate. It was an easy choice for me to return to CSU and Fort Collins.

There is so much I liked about the English program! The faculty is excellent, and I found my classes to be challenging, interesting, and relevant. The entire department has a welcoming and collegial feel. There is also a supportive community among the graduate students.

Was there a specific class, professor, advisor, or fellow student who made an impression on you, helped you, or inspired you when you were at CSU in the English Department?

There are so many wonderful professors in the English department who made a lasting impression on me. I am particularly grateful for the mentorship I received from Dr. Louann Reid and Dr. Pam Coke, who cultivated my interests early on and supported me in pursuing a doctorate. Through their classes, I was introduced to the area of digital literacies and given the freedom to explore topics that piqued my interest. They both spent time to really help me strengthen my writing. I often still recall their advice when I write today. Pam and Louann were also instrumental during my Ph.D. application process—they helped me develop my application materials and networked for me. They’ve had a huge impact on my career.

What would you like to tell prospective CSU English Department students?

There are so many avenues you can pursue with an English degree—from teaching English in different contexts, to literacy research, and creative writing (just to name a few!). In addition, English majors are well rounded and learn many valuable communication and analytical skills that transfer across all fields.

What advice do you have for current CSU English Department students?

My advice for current CSU English graduate students is just to soak in the experience being surrounded by such smart, passionate, and creative faculty and peers. It’s also important to find time to relax and have fun during the program because I think having a balance in life makes you ultimately more productive.

If you think you might want to pursue a doctorate, this is a great time to explore different topics and gain valuable teaching experience. Don’t let the time or work it takes be a deterrent—go for it if that’s your goal!

What was the last piece of writing you read or wrote?

Since I’m working towards earning tenure, I am writing all of the time. I’ve recently published some research articles focused on multimodal composition in Computers & Education, Bilingual Research Journal, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, and Learning, Media, and Technology.

What are your hobbies or special interests, what do you enjoy doing with your free time

Miami is a fun city to explore. My husband and I love trying out new restaurants down here, going to concerts, and enjoying the beaches. While getting out and exploring new places is great, we often indulge in our guilty pleasure of marathoning shows too.



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One of the hundreds of cups of tea that I had in the UK! (And a full Scottish breakfast, complete with blood pudding and beans)

This summer, in addition to serving as the interim Communications Coordinator for the English Department, I also spent three weeks touring the United Kingdom, hiking through the Scottish highlands, and attending various shows and performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the largest arts festival in the world.

Edinburgh was the first city designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a City of Literature in 2004. According to cityofliterature.com, Edinburgh is “a literary powerhouse, attracting and spawning best-selling writers, home to vibrant publishing houses and the birthplace of the world’s biggest book festival….Edinburgh [is] bursting with literary history and heritage.”

My traveling partner and boyfriend, Andy Robertson, was an excellent tour guide having lived in Edinburgh for 6 years (he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s at the University of Edinburgh). During our 6 days at the Fringe, we saw 12 shows (and an additional 2 in London), visited 8 “literary pubs,” drank 300 cups of tea, and learned about the history and culture of Edinburgh.


Here is some more information about the top eight literary pubs that we visited in Edinburgh:

Literary Pub Tour of Edinburgh: 

1.The White Hart Inn: Founded in 1516, the White Hart Inn is one of Edinburgh’s oldest pubs, so it’s no surprise that many notable literary figures have stayed there. Robert Burns lodged there on his last visit to Edinburgh in 1791, as did William and Dorothy Wordsworth in 1803.IMG_3180

2. Deacon Brodie’s Tavern This pub commemorates Deacon Brodie, a man whose fascinating double life is said to have inspired The Strange Case of Dr. Jeykyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. By day, Deacon Brodie was a cabinet-maker and respected city councillor of Edinburgh, but by night he led a second life as a burglar, partly for the thrill of it and partly to fund his gambling. IMG_31923. Sheep Heid Inn: There has reputedly been a pub on this spot selling liquor and victuals since 1360. If this date is correct it would make The Sheep Heid Inn the oldest pub in Edinburgh, and possibly all of Scotland. It was cute, cozy, and a favorite destination for poets throughout the centuries. Also, at the base of Arthur’s Seat, it’s a great place to grab a post-hike beer!


4. The Blind Poet: Poems are inscribed on the wood panels inside The Blind Poet in homage to the former owner, eighteenth century poet, Thomas Blacklock. The pub now features a series of open mic and spoken word nights.


The Blind Poet was renamed by the Gilded Balloon for the Fringe Festival and served as a ticket box office for the many nearby shows.

5. Greyfriars Bobby Bar: Greyfriars Bobby Bar occupies the ground floor of a row of Georgian houses adjoining the historic Candlemakers’ Hall, built in 1722. The name of the bar is inspired by an Edinburgh legend of ay Skye terrier called Bobby. When his owner died in 1858, Bobby faithfully watched over his grave and was buried alongside his master in the Greyfriars Kirkyard in 1872. 


Standing next to a statue of Bobby the dog

6. The World Famous Frankenstein and Bier Keller: This three-story pub commemorates Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with a mechanical frankenstein that gets zapped to life every hour. IMG_3253   

7. The Conan Doyle: This pub serves as a shrine to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and is situated across the street from a statue of Sherlock Holmes.IMG_3267

8. Elephant House: Although this is not a pub, it is one of Edinburgh’s most famous cafes. JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series while sipping tea and eating cake in this cafe.



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Kathleen Willard

English Teacher and Poet

Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry, 2004

Kathleen's Headshot


Kathleen Willard’s poetry projects include a travelogue documenting a month long stay in India, an investigation of St. Francis of Assisi based on relics and art depicting his life, a series of sonnets to Mary Shelley, a mistranslation of Ovid’s Metamorphosis using an early 20th Century high school Latin workbook in addition to documenting her life in northern Colorado. One of her interests is using received forms—dictionary entries, tourist brochures, indexes, lists, newspaper articles, and fairy tales—as structures for her poems.

Her poetry has been influenced by travels to India, Italy, Turkey, Portugal and from growing up in a nomadic career military family.

She received a Masters of Arts in English from Middlebury College’s Breadloaf School of English and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Colorado State University.

Awards include a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to study in India, a National Endowment of Humanities Fellowship to study the New England Renaissance in Massachusetts, and an Arts Alive Fellowship to support her trip to Turkey.  She received a fellowship to travel and write in Lisbon, Portugal at the Disquiet International Literary Program and to be in residence at the Vermont Studio Center.

She has taught creative writing in public schools, colleges, prisons, and senior housing projects.

Read the interview below to learn more!

(The biographical information above from Colorado Poets Center)

Why did you choose to study at CSU?

I applied to the MFA Program and was accepted. I was thrilled as I had wanted an MFA in Poetry for years and knew that places at the table were limited. I returned to college after a several decade hiatus to work on my MFA in Creative Writing in Poetry. I was a public school teacher and have written poetry since my teens. I still have copies of my high school literary magazine where my first poems were published. From that moment on, I was intoxicated by the act of writing a poem. For years, I wanted to work on an advanced degree in writing, and the convergence of being accepted into the program and receiving a sabbatical from the Poudre School District set me on my desired course.

I wanted to fine tune and hone my craft. I wanted to join a circle of people who were serious about an art form that will never make them rich, that has a limited “market”, but felt compelled like I do, to confront the blank page and write a poem. I needed to get out of my quiet studio, my predictable workplace and moved to the next level of my craft. I wanted to be challenged and my work at CSU provided me with the opportunity to grow as a writer in ways not possible when writing solo.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

Living the life of a poet and not giving up. Writing against impossible odds. One receives many “no’s” before one gets a “yes” as a writer of poetry. Because of my poems, I received a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to travel to India, a fellowship to the Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal, received a fellowship to attend Vermont Studio Center, an artist colony, twice and have had many poetry adventures. Finally, a chapbook of my poetry, Cirque & Sky, was published this year and won the Middle Creek Publishing & Audio’s Fledge Poetry Contest.

How did your major prepare you for your job and the life you have now?

Being an English major prepares one for many jobs and is a prerequisite to become a teacher. I worked in publishing and as a freelance writer, but my career was as a public school English teacher. I wanted to be a writing teacher that had first contact with developing, emerging writers and readers of literature. That first contact happens in 9th grade when students leap from YA Literature into classic literature.

I had a calling. I wanted to help students master Shakespeare and The Odyssey, both very difficult texts. I wanted to share my experience as a writer and help students develop confidence in crafting their ideas, honing their thinking and sharing their ideas with the world through writing. I was especially driven to be the teacher that helps students love poetry and they did come to love poetry as poetry is the language of adolescents.

A large banner with George Orwell quote was prominently displayed in the front of my classroom, “If you do not write well, you cannot think well. If you cannot think well, others will do your thinking for you.” This was my quest—to help students think for themselves.

What advice do you have for prospective English students?

Follow your passion. Many people will question your choice to major in English. I tried very hard not be an English major, and studied Political Science. I took a course on Women and Literature and read 15 novels written by women and I was hooked. People undervalue a degree in English, but, it is one of the most flexible degrees on the planet. You can teach, work in publishing, work in marketing, work in politics, or run a business. As an English major, you are fine tuning analytical thinking and research skills, and mastering communication and writing skills, all highly valued workplace skills. When you study a novel deeply, you are also studying history, philosophy, culture, psychology, religion, and science, as characters in novels inhabit a unique time and space. When you write an essay, you are crafting a new idea and exploring new territory. Writing is a creative act, another valuable workplace skill. But, if you are like me, encountering a beautifully crafted poem or novel or short story or essay or sentence is reward enough to study literature.

Were there any faculty in the English Department that had a special impact on your writing life? 

When I became a student at CSU, I wanted to push myself as a citizen of the poetry world, and be involved with an engaged literary community. The professors at CSU have created a learning environment that fostered my journey.

My thesis advisor, Lauren Mullen, pushed me intellectually and helped me fine tune my craft with the precision of a sculptor. She pushed me to question everything I knew about poetry before entering the program and with her guidance I became a better critic of my work and the work of others. She radicalized my approach to my poetry. Mary Crow guided me on a journey into Surrealism and into work by international poets that I would have never read on my own and enriched my body of knowledge. Bill Tremblay continues to be interested in my work long past my graduation, as we are in an occasional writing group. John Calderazzo, even though I never took any of his classes, has always been curious about my writing and kind to me. John wrote a wonderful book jacket blurb for my first chapbook of poetry, Cirque & Sky. Dan Beachy-Quick, who arrived at CSU long after I graduated, also wrote a wonderful book blurb, proof positive CSU alums are forever connected to the MFA program.

What was your last piece of writing?

My last piece of writing is my current piece of writing. I am working on a project with the Denver’s Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop and the American Museum of Western Art in Denver called Writing the West. I am currently revising three poems based on three paintings in the museum—Trapper at Fault, Looking at Trail, Desert Journey, and Corn Dancer. The poems will be published as a book and be part of a permanent installation at the museum. They are also making an audio recording of the writing in the project and the recording with be part of their audio tour for the collection.

Why is poetry important? What does it mean to or do for you, all of us?

Poetry connects people across all the artificial divides we have created. It speaks cross cultures and gender, beyond religion and politics and its speaks across the ages. Poets are keen observers of the world and poets have no tie to any marketplace or economy and therefore, we are truth tellers as we know we will never make a living producing our art. We are keen observers of the world around us. We write like investigative reporters as we write deep and close to the bone.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Eavan Boland, W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney and Fernando Pessoa.

What is your writing process, practice like?

I write by hand on the largest art blank sketchbook paper I can buy. I write outside the lines and let the paper be a field I explore. I write by hand until I cannot write anymore on that subject. Then I go to the computer. And revise revise revise. It takes me a very long time to complete a poem.

I don’t have a fixed time to write, but am always thinking about the next poem or the current one so when I hit my desk, words explode.

How would you describe the poetry you write?

I am a lyric poet, but try to push the boundaries of the lyric into the 21st Century. Currently, I am writing pastorals praising the beauty of the Rocky Mountain West and anti-pastorals lyric poems about fracking, benzene spills, Superfund sites, toxic wastes from the decades of mining and pine bark beetle infestations. My chapbook Cirque & Sky deals with this material, but I am working on a book length manuscript on this issue.

What fuels, feeds your poetry?

Poems are everywhere. Always be open. One just has to listen. Get out in the world. Don’t isolate yourself in your studio. Writing a poem is a moveable feast. It can be done anywhere. Follow one’s obsessions—there are poems in there. Read. Read. Read. Read.

Go the opera. Art museums. Theatre. Antique shops. Get outdoors and walk or fly fish or hike. Learn the names of all the living creatures and plants in your region. Figure out a way to travel. As travel is destabilizing, and in destabilization, poems occur. I have traveled to India, Turkey, Portugal and the Azores—my short list. Each time I cross a new border, I am on alert. Can’t afford to travel across the globe? The West is also a foreign country—travel beyond the Front Range. It’s incredible.

What sort of legacy would you like your poetry, your life to leave?

I would like my poetic legacy to be about interconnectedness. We are connected to the planet and to each other. Williams Carlos Williams said poetry is about contact. When one reads a poem, he believed contact between reader and writer occurs and that is the purpose of all art. I hope my poems make contact with readers.








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